Commodore C64 Raspberry Pi Case

A few years ago, I took the shell of a Commodore 64, added a very slim PC motherboard, a custom keyboard interface, did a spot of re cabling , had an afternoon with a Dremel  and made myself a rather fun little retro PC. You can read about the details of this project over in the ‘Commodore C64 ITX PC’ category on the right hand side.

Any-ho, after I’d had my fun with it, the motherboard was reused on another project and the empty C64 shell was put away until a rainy day. Well it’s not raining today, but whilst I await delivery of that ‘Oric’ themed keyboard to  I thought, as a quick keyboard fix to use on my Raspberry Pi , why not use the C64 shell again and make myself a Commodore 64 Retro Pi…thingie.

Here’s the breadbin C64 case and keyboard all ready to go.

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My first job is to install the keyboard interface and for this  I’ll be reusing  the Keyrah board I’d previously used on my C64 PC and ‘Atar-berry’ projects. In a nutshell, the Keyrah provides a way of connecting keyboards from the Commodore 64, Vic 20, C16, Plus/4, C128, and Amiga 600 computers and converts them into a standard USB PC keyboard. The Keyrah also has two 9-pin D-Sockets so you can connect those vintage joysticks to complete the retro experience.

I’m using the discontinued V1 board, the new V2 board is multi regional and also supports Amiga 1200 keyboards – For further details and ordering information, head on over to – http://www.vesalia.de/

The Keyrah is designed to fit in the top left corner so that you can use the original port facia on the C64 (and Vic20).  I’ve connected the C64 keyboard cable to the correct set of header pins and have also connected the Power LED which will function as a keymap indicator….plus, it looks cool to have it lit too!

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Hehe, i remember on the C64 PC project, trying to figure out how to best position the motherboard and making various dremel cuts here and there to make it fit. No problems with the tiny dimensions of the Raspberry Pi. I could fit a whole army of them in here.

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That’s about it really. All that was left to do was to hook up the usual cables to the  Raspberry Pi and connect the Keyrah board to the Pi with a USB cable – you can do this either externally using a standard A to B USB cable, or for a much neater internal job, make a DIY header cable – one end (for the Pi) should be a standard USB plug and the other end (for the Keyrah) should terminate into a four pin block and attached to the header pins on the Keyrah.

For the operating system I thought I’d check out Chameleon Pi – http://chameleon.enging.com/ which not only is preconfigured with  a great C64 emulator, but there’s a whole bunch of other emulators too.

I’ve downloaded the O/S  image (ver 3.2), written to an SD card (via Win32DiskImager) and booting my…..hmm, what to call it>?

Commodore Pi….Raspberdore 64….RP64?

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Before I start messing around with the emulators, there’s a few house keeping chores to do first, like expanding the ‘rom’ folders, setting the correct overscan for my TV and making a coffee.

Copying game images over to the Pi has been simplified even more so with ChameleonPI. Sure, you can still do it via SSH of FTP if you want to, but for ease, just browse to the built in samba share by typing the Pi’s IP address into Windows Explorer and you get a familiar view of folders that you can drag/drop games into. Hmm, even though there’s no Amiga emulator in this particular build, it’s interesting to see  that there’s a folder called Amiga. Maybe a hint of a future inclusion?

Chameleon

Right, lefts try one of……hehe, the default screen saver has just activated –  C64 Blue screen of death 🙂

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The first emulator I wanted to try was the  C64  (VICE) of course, however on launching it,  I couldn’t access the options menu because by default key to access these you need to press F12, which sadly isn’t  supported on the Keyrah. No matter though, to reconfigure I  temporary connected a standard PC keyboard, pressed F12 to access the menu and changed the emulators UI keys to something else. Once done (i remapped to F1) I  reconnect the Keyrah and can now access the options.

Woo, so many options to play around with.

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I found that once you got the options set the way you like them (including joystick mappings, video and sound…which incidentally, at the default 44100hz its a little distorted and much better on 22050hz) you can save these out as default.

I copied over the superb C64 game Knight & Grail and loaded on the emulator. It appears to run perfectly but you can also have the pop up status box to see what kind of FPS you’re getting.

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Right, what other emulators to try…??

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(Darth Vader) Noooooooooooooooooooo!

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Congrats to Mordi again.

Congrats to Mordi for winning c64 remixer of the year for the forth time now.

http://www.remix64.com/roty.html

Check out all of his tunes at – http://mordi.ziphoid.com/ – especially ‘Ocean Loader no.2’ which still gives me goosebumps when I play it and (hoping he doesn’t mind) used it as background music a few years ago in my ‘bung a PC inside a dead Commodore 64’ YouTube vid.

Congrats again Mordi and keep up the good work.

Well done Commodore

After much anticipation Commodore have finally announced the release of their latest machines and it’s a big thumbs up to them as its so nice to see the Commodore and Amiga logo on computer cases again. Would I buy one…erm, sadly not. As nice as they are, they’re not exactly competitively priced despite the high specs of the top range Amiga.

…still, those Amiga mini cases look sooooo good! I’m a big fan of mini ITX cases, our own HTPC is encased in one and have always had a soft spot for the Apple Mac mini. Maybe if Commodore lowered their price a little, I’d buy a barebones?

Hopefully, they’ll be a few unboxing videos appear on YouTube sometime soon.

Are you planning on getting one?

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Commodore USA

Quick Commodore 64 ITX PC update.

Having ran out of time at the weekend to fully soak test the C64 PC, I’d taken it in to work with me and left it switched on were I can keep an eye on it.

Temperature wise, it rose from around 16c to about 55c during the course of about three hours.

Although 55c isn’t that hot, to appease any concerns I had, I fitted a quiet case fan at lunchtime to to see if that would help. It seems to have done the trick as the tempreature rose much slowly and peaked at around 40c throughout the day. Again I used the adhesive velcro pads to secure the fan in place.

Whilst I had my soldering iron and tool kit to hand, I drilled through the C64 case and fitted the replacement PC on/off switch. It’s a much better switch I was previously using and is conveniently placed on the side of the case instead of the rear.